The Kansas Land That Once Belonged to the Bloody Benders, America’s First Serial Killer Family, Is Up for Auction
A tract of land up for auction in Kansas features rolling views, tillable soil, and a history of some of the most infamous murders ever committed in the state. As the Salina Journal reports, the 162-acre property was once home to the Bloody Benders, the four-person unit considered by many to be America's first serial killer family.
John Bender Sr.; his wife, Mary; their daughter, Kate; and their son John Jr. claimed a parcel of land in what is now Labette County, Kansas in 1870. Their site sat near the Great Osage Trail, and the home they built there doubled as an inn were travelers could rest and replenish their supplies.
Many of the Benders' guests were never heard from again. But given the risks of pioneer life, such disappearances weren't unusual. The family was able to evade suspicion for years, and it wasn't until a popular doctor named William York went missing in 1873 that the Benders were questioned.
Before investigators could complete a thorough search of the Bender home, its four residents fled. It didn't take authorities long to discover why: A trap door in the building's floor revealed a cellar that was soaked with blood. Buried in the garden, they found York's body with his head caved in and his throat slit. Around 11 bodies in total were ultimately discovered on the property, but it's suspected the Benders were responsible for up to 21 murders.
The house where the killers lured in their victims and committed their crimes was demolished decades ago, but the land where it once stood is now up for sale. The property is labeled as "Farm 2" and "Tract 9″ in a listing of 15 Kansas tracts going to auction later this month. According to the listing, it has "152.23+/- acres of tillable land per FSA," and "Primary soil types include Wagstaff Silty Clay Loam, Kenoma Silt Loam and Parsons Silt Loam."
Buyers could end up getting more than they pay for. According to the manager of the auction house, modern technology likely hasn't been used to scan the land for undiscovered bodies since the initial victims were found in the 1870s.
The public auction will take place at the Cardinal Event Center in Parsons, Kansas, at 6 p.m. on February 11. And if you'd like to do your research before purchasing a grisly murder site, the tract will be open for inspection between 2 and 5 p.m. on February 10.
[h/t Salina Journal]